SEO for Fintech
Fintechs that ignore SEO risk getting seriously behind.
It can consistently bring a lot of highly qualified leads to your website.
But SEO can be hard to keep up. In our experience as a fintech marketing agency, many marketeers find that SEO is a field filled with different areas (technical SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, etc.), strategies, jargon, and sometimes contradictory advice.
Furthermore, special considerations need to be made for different industries, including, of course, fintech.
So, let's first take a look at what exactly SEO is, why it's important for fintech and what is unique about SEO for fintech.
In this article we will discuss:
- What is SEO?
- The benefits of SEO
- The basic elements of SEO
- Fintech SEO
- What is SEO for fintech?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the digital marketing discipline for making websites' pages rank high in search engines results pages (SERPs).
It may sound very technical, but SEO is really part art and part science.
Approximately half of it is about helping search engines (like Google) understand your website (science). Search engines need to be able to crawl and understand your content in order to index it.
This overlaps a lot with the other half: helping the user understand it (art). Search engines are informed by how users interact with your content (user metrics).
The only search engine in town: Google
Only one particular search engine currently matters: Google.
It has a 92% share of search engine markets worldwide. So in most cases, 'Google optimisation' could be a far more accurate phrase!
In order to rank highly in Google for specific search terms, your domain (entire website) website and individual pages all need to satisfy Google's algorithm's requirements.
A general overview of these requirements is made clear in Google's documentation. However, information on specific ranking factors and their importance is not officially published.
Google obviously wants to protect its algorithm from copycats and people who want to game it.
Ultimately, Google wants to give its users the most relevant and best quality results for their searches. If they don't, these users would switch to other search engines.
With this principle in mind, understanding SEO becomes a lot easier.
The benefits of SEO
Many websites are not effectively optimised for search engines.
And according to another study, the following rankings get the following percentage of a given keyword’s total traffic:
- Ranking first place: 31%
- Ranking second place: 24%
- Ranking third place 18%
- Ranking on the second page (i..e, positions 11 - 20 ): less than 1%
In other words, you need to rank highly on the first page of the Google results to gain significant search traffic.
Websites not optimised for search engines still matter
Not having good SEO doesn't mean websites don't get any traffic (see below, '1. Increased organic search traffic).
Many websites still serve a basic and important function as digital shop front for existing customers to visit. This is an essential digital property to own.
The ultimate benefit of SEO is that it gets more people in this digital shop.
Let's take a look closer at what exactly this means.
1. Increased organic search traffic
Organic search traffic is unpaid traffic from search engines. It is easy to distinguish organic from paid traffic (PPC).
But many website visits come from users simply typing your company name into Google. This is direct traffic (or branded traffic) that - at first glance - looks like organic traffic.
With SEO, the general goal is to get users who have never heard of you to arrive on your website (via searches related to your services or industry).
From a 30,000-foot view, this kind of increased organic traffic is perhaps the primary benefit of SEO.
2. Increased organic search traffic quality
The quality of organic search traffic can be as important as the quantity.
So a big part of SEO strategy includes understanding the search intent of keywords that will bring high-quality, relevant traffic.
'Card manufacturers' example
For example, the term ‘card manufacturers’ has approximately 2,900 global searches each month. Raking in the top three for this could bring in a large volume of organic search traffic.
But that traffic is likely to be made up of consumers or businesses searching for greetings card manufacturers. In other words, it would be useless to a fintech providing debit or credit card manufacturing services.
3. Increased search visibility
Search visibility is the amount of traffic a website gets for its ranking keywords.
A good SEO strategy will seek to achieve higher search visibility across multiple relevant search terms.
For example, if 31% of users that search a specific keyword then click on your top-ranking result, it means you have a search visibility of 31% for that keyword.
Once you average out the percentage share of clicks you get for all of your target keywords, you will have a broader search visibility metric.
This means potential customers have a higher chance of finding you rather your fintech competitors. This is the prize most of our fintech clients relish!
Your website's website's high visibility in search engines can be compared to shelf space. You are there and available where customers need you.
The basic elements of SEO
SEO can be roughly divided into the following three categories:
1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO covers a range of aspects related to your website's 'crawl-ability' (i.e., how easily Google's bots can 'crawl' and understand it) and speed.
Special SEO software can help you crawl your website and reveal any technical issues.
The most well-known SEO software is Ahrefs and Semrush. Once you have set up a paid account, they offer good site audit tools.
There are also more specialist technical audit-focused tools such as Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Lumar, etc.
Each site has different technical issues. There are too many to list here. But common ones include:
- Broken links
- Slow-loading pages
- Missing page titles
- Incorrect sitemaps
- Robots. txt
- Incorrect canonicals
Technical SEO involves fixing or improving these issues so that your site is easier for both Google and users to access.
2. Keyword research & Content Strategy
'Keywords' are basically search terms. They can be words, phrases or questions (often referred to as 'long-tail keywords').
What exactly is keyword research?
Keyword research is a process that involves using SEO software to estimate metrics around different keywords variations.
There are three main metrics to consider:
Keyword difficulty: This is usually given on a scale of 0 - 100, with 0 being the easiest and 100 the most difficult (theoretically) to rank for.
Keyword search volume/traffic: This is usually the single biggest surprise for our fintech clients. Many SEO tools give good estimates of the expected global and national search volumes of keywords. The findings are frequently not what our clients expect them to be.
- Keyword search intent: This means the users' intention when searching (to be informed, to make a purchase, etc).
How and where to apply keywords
There are two basic areas where keywords should be considered:
- On a website's home page and service pages
- In SEO-focused content (blogs)
Assigning keywords to home and service pages will influence their content and copy. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of scope to include your marketing messaging and brand tone of voice in those pages.
Many pages don't need to be optimised for a particular keyword (for example, 'About' and 'Contact Us' pages).
Not all your blog content needs to be written for search engines. A large portion of it is likely to focused on other marketing goals. These include promoting product launches, marketing database building, or sharing thought leadership.
These types of content might be shared with existing customers or prospects via email or on social media.
The majority of the traffic they generate will be within a relatively short timeframe – i.e., immediately after publication.
Articles or blogs written for SEO are created for a very different purpose. They are not used by your marketing department in the same way. Instead, they are carefully and explicitly structured to rank for specific keywords.
They are not usually not heavily promoted. They are designed to gradually gain readers as they rise through the Google rankings.
3. Backlink outreach
'Backlinks' are links to your website from other websites. The ideal backlink should have one or more of the following properties:
- Be relevant to your sector or business
- Come from a website with high traffic
- Come from a website with high domain authority
In an ideal world, creating great content would naturally lead to others linking to it.
In reality, there are multiple ways to gain or increase the likelihood of gaining backlinks.
Firstly, certain types of content are more likely to gain backlinks, such as infographics or data-rich studies.
There are also other tactics based on outreach to other websites. For example, offering to write a guest post for another site in exchange for a mention and backlink to your website.
You can also use SEO software to see the backlinks your competitors have achieved. From here, you can organise the data into category lists (backlinks from guest posts, mentions in articles, profile pages, etc.), sort them by domain authority, and then outreach to those sites via email.
Although it can be time-consuming, gaining backlinks is still a huge part of a successful SEO strategy.
Now we've provided an overview of SEO, let's look more closely at the hows and whys of SEO for fintech.
Why should fintech companies care about SEO?
There are currently nearly 9 billion searches made on Google each day.
Whether in business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer (B2C), fintech customers are online. They find products via the web and app store rather than physical stores.
Below are two benefits that fintechs can expect from good SEO.
1. Measurable, qualified traffic
Thanks to SEO platforms and software, we can estimate how many searches are being made on Google (and other search engines) for specific products.
Take our Blue Payments Ltd. example above. The keywords for the content mentioned there have the following monthly traffic values:
What is retail payment system? (280)
How do payment systems work? (160)
How to set up a credit card payment system? (160)
Retail payment system example (350)
Retail store payment system (580)
There is a combined traffic of 1530 searches a month.
If Blue Payments Ltd. ranked first for all of these terms, it could expect to get approximately 31% share of this (474). If ranking second, approximately 24% (367). Third, 18% (275).
This is highly qualified traffic. It is also extremely efficient: once the content is ranking, most of the work has been done.
Month after month this qualified traffic will continue to arrive at your site.
You'll simply occasionally need to update your SEO content to keep it high in the rankings.
2. Brand visibility and authority
Fintech is a digital industry. A big part of its appeal is its differentiation from traditional financial services and banking. However, 'fintech' has become a bit of a buzzword and non-fintechs (including banks) are even trying to position themselves in this way.
Social media, PPC and video SEO (different from traditional SEO we discussed previously) are all useful channels for brand exposure and product education.
And this market is growing not just with other fintechs, but with non-fintechs looking to position themselves to face the same audiences.
However, no digital marketing strategy for fintech is complete if it excludes Google.
Besides generating organic traffic, being an authority and online presence that appears when users google industry questions will establish your expertise in a valuable way.
What is SEO for fintech?
SEO for fintech is SEO work undertaken by SEO specialists that also understand fintech.
As mentioned earlier, ultimately Google's algorithm has one primary goal: to give its users the most relevant and best quality results for their searches.
Therefore, to deliver these results, understanding the fintech market and how your solution meets the needs of a consumer or B2B audience is vital.
Know your fintech
"To complicate is simple, to simplify is complicated..." the artist Bruno Munari once said.
Content that ranks will sink or swim based on user metrics. Google will know how long visitors stay on your page, their next action is (i.e., do they leave and go back to the same results and click on another result?), etc.
Therefore, you need to keep visitors on your site with good, clear, engaging words and imagery that meets search intent.
Without a good knowledge of fintech marketing, you might find your SEO efforts result in content including keywords in an unsophisticated way. This will disrupt user experience and lead to high bounce rates.
The other important consideration regarding fintech marketing relates to budgets. Fintechs don’t tend to have a large amount of cash available for long-term paid ad spend (PPC).
This makes developing an SEO strategy a vital marketing activity as it is likely to be a lower-cost, long-term strategy.
Know your target audience
Knowing a product or service well is important. So too is knowing your audience.
Fintech is a complex industry spanning consumer and B2B offerings from back-office technology providers, issuers, acquirers and a plethora of supporting services.
It’s important to keep in mind the multitude of interdependencies and perspectives that need to be evaluated when planning how you sell your services within the ecosystem.
In fintech, the nature of job roles can be less formally defined than other industries.
This needs to be kept in mind when planning your fintech SEO strategy and content, especially in the start-up space.
You might, for example, encounter a CFO who is also head of marketing which would affect the orientation of your content.
Fintech SEO strategy
There are many different routes you can take to improving your site's SEO.
These include technical audits and site speed optimization, backlink campaigns, on-page optimisation, and much more.
Which strategy you choose depends on multiple factors, such as the size of your domain, your domain authority, your niche, your competitors, and more.
However, here are some general points that should be considered when you are formulating your strategy.
There is a lot to consider before you begin on an SEO journey.
It's logical to begin with a technical audit. After all, if your site is not being crawled or indexed by Google, then everything else you do will be a waste of time.
Technical audits & core web vitals
You might decide that you want to have amazingly good core web vitals, too, with perfect page speed for every page on your domain.
However, unless you have a serious issue, and your pages are all seriously slow, most websites don't need to immediately score a perfect SEO health score.
You should tackle high-priority issues early on. After that, it's good to dedicate time to fixing other issues. But they don't need to be done at the expense of other fundamentals, such as writing content and on-page optimization.
Backlinks are important and can really move the needle with rankings. However, as with less serious technical issues, they aren't always the highest priority early on.
Quality over quantity
Many keywords can only be targeted by blogs. So, it's important to write a lot of content to target them.
This shouldn't tempt you into writing for quantity over quality though. Poor-content will be limited not only in how high it can rank but also in how likely it will be to bring leads.
You also need to find experienced writers who know their fintech. This will optimise the content's potential to make an impact (and convert leads).
Putting the time and resources into creating good content will pay off.
Well-written, clearly structured content takes time to create. And targeting a long list of keywords means you'll likely have to begin with a lot of less glamorous (i.e., low difficulty keywords), first.
The full impact of each stage of SEO work is generally only felt a few months after it has been implemented. It takes time for content to be crawled, indexed and ranked high.
Although fintech is firmly rooted in user experience and customer convenience, it can ironically be quite difficult for buyers to find what they need in this complex ecosystem.
(A similar issue exists for fintechs themselves. Complex technical issues, regulations and reliance on multiple partners all support a simple end product for the end user!)
Many fintechs are surprised to learn that people are not searching for their services using the expected terms.
The development of every SEO strategy should include a brainstorm of every search term your team can think of. But be prepared to discover that your customers may think differently.
Prioritising SEO tasks is crucial. You don't want to waste time completing exhaustive technical audits and backlink campaigns when there is still content to be written or updated.
When it comes to writing content, quality should come before quantity for many reasons. 100 A+ articles are worth more than 400 D- ones.
Breaking through to the mass market is tough for both consumer and B2B fintechs. While paid advertising is a sure-fire tactic for quick results, it can be very expensive, especially in the early days of market entry.
Investing what can be a fraction of the cost in developing a solid SEO strategy is likely to be a wise decision with long-term benefits.